The Tomato Head’s Bacon and Cheddar Soup

If you weren’t up early on Saturday tuned in to WBIR, you missed Mahasti presenting what’s sure to become a favorite for gatherings of family and friends.

Simple to make, warming and good, this soup’s one to prepare in advance and have on the stove top for snackers while the “big dinner” is in the works.

The Tomato Head’s Bacon and Cheddar Soup

½ lb bacon, diced
1.25 cups celery, finely chopped
½ cup onion, finely chopped
2 large cloves garlic, minced
1 – 2 small jalapenos, seeded and finely chopped
1 Tbl fresh thyme
1 ½ stick butter
2/3 cup flour
6 cups water
3 cups heavy cream
14 oz mild cheddar cheese, shredded
12 oz smoked cheddar cheese, shredded

In a 6 quart pot over medium heat sauté bacon until bacon is crisp. Add celery, onion, garlic, jalapenos and thyme. Sauté the vegetables until onion and celery are translucent. Add water, and cream. Meanwhile, melt butter in a medium skillet. Add flour, whisking constantly until the mixture is smooth. Add the flour mixture to the soup and stir constantly until the soup thickens slightly. Add cheeses and stir soup until cheese has melted.

Serve.

Gluten-free Pizza Crust Now Available

Starting on August 30th, The Tomato Head restaurants began offering a new option for pizzas to lunch, dinner and brunch customers–a gluten-free crust.

For years, small numbers of customers have asked for a gluten-free option. That number has increased over the last few years, with more individuals seeking gluten-free foods for dietary adjustments, as well as persons diagnosed with Celiac Disease (an autoimmune disease that interferes with the absorption of nutrients from foods).

After testing several options, the restaurant selected Rudi’s brand gluten-free pizza crust for its taste and availability. Several recipe experiments were conducted to make the specialty crust in-house, but in the end, Rudi’s was the top choice.

Mahasti, Scott and the whole Tomato Head crew are very glad to be able to offer a consistent and reliable option for customers who need, or simply want, a gluten-free crust.

“Pizza is a comfort food for a lot of people, in addition to simply being delicious and good,” says Mahasti. “We’re making it possible for those needing a gluten-free option to enjoy that comfort food again.”

What’s Inside

The crust contains water, rice flour, corn starch, tapioca, dextrin, eggs, sugar, salt, xanthan gum, baking powder, guar gum, canola oil, and rice extract. Patrons ordering the gluten-free crust can get a personal-size pizza and select the toppings of their choice. Soy cheese is also available, as many persons diagnosed with Celiac Disease, or requiring a gluten-free diet, are also lactose intolerant.

Order Up!

A personal-size cheese pizza with gluten-free crust is $9.55 plus tax, or $11.75 plus tax with soy-cheese. A wide variety of toppings can be added for an additional charge.

Special Handling

Although The Tomato Head is not a gluten-free environment and trace amounts of flour may be present on the gluten-free pizza, every effort is made during the preparation and baking of the gluten-free pizzas to ensure there is no direct contact with flour, including the use of a separate pizza cutter for the gluten-free pizzas.

The Tomato Head’s Sausage Gravy

We’ve been doing a lot with biscuits lately. Maybe it’s because we’re ready for a little fall to come on in or we’re just enjoying how versatile truly delicious biscuits can be. No matter, Mahasti shared The Tomato Head recipe for Sausage Gravy on WBIR this morning , featuring sausage from Benton’s Bacon. (Hint…you can only get their sausage if you visit their store, and it’s worth the trip).

The recipe is fast, filling, and will have you smiling about your morning all day long. Can’t stand at the stove today? Simply come by for brunch, served 10am – 3pm, and we’ll have the biscuits and gravy ready for you.

Tomato Head’s Sausage Gravy
¼ lb butter
½ lb Benton’s or other breakfast sausage
1/3 cup all purpose flour
4 cups warm milk
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper

1 recipe The Tomato Head’s Best Biscuits

While biscuits are cooking:

In a large skillet over medium heat, melt butter. Add sausage and sauté until sausage has browned. Add flour and whisk until all the flour is incorporated and no lumps remain. Slowly add the warm milk while whisking constantly. Lower heat to low – add salt and pepper and whisk constantly until desired consistency is reached.

Serve immediately over hot biscuits.

County Tres Leche

Yee haw! This is a good way to end a meal, have a snack, or simply enjoy a new cultural twist on a classic treat.

Mahasti presented The Tomato Head’s recipe for “Country Tres Leche” on WBIR this weekend. What makes it country? The recipe is based upon The Tomato Head’s “Best Biscuits” recipe, instead of the traditional lady fingers or sponge cake. Give it a whirl and let us know what you think.

The Tomato Head’s Country Tres Leche

(aka, Biscuits soaked in three milks topped with blackberry compote and cream)

For Milk Soaked Biscuits:

 

1 cup sweetened condensed milk

1 cup evaporated milk

1 cup heavy cream

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1/8 tsp ground clove

6 – 8 day-old biscuits

In a small bowl mix together condensed milk, evaporated milk, heavy cream, cinnamon, and clove.

Place biscuits in an 8 X 11 baking dish.  Pour 1 ½ cups of the milk mixture over the biscuits and allow biscuits to soak for 2 hours or overnight.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Bake milk soaked biscuits for 20 minutes until heated through.

For Blackberry Compote:

 

1 lb fresh or frozen blackberries

1/3 cup sugar

Place blackberries and sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat.  Cook mixture just until sugar has completely dissolved.  Remove from heat and set aside.

To Serve:

 

Place each biscuit on a plate.  Pour ¼ cup of the remaining milk mixture over each biscuit, followed by ¼ cup of heavy cream and 1/3 cup of blackberry compote.  Serve immediately.

The Tomato Head’s Fried Green Tomatoes

The South in the summer? Friend green tomatoes. The two things are synonymous and equally loved. Mahasti’s sharing The Tomato Head’s recipe for fried green tomatoes and both the Maryville and Knoxville restaurants will be serving them today as an appetizer accompanied by a honey mustard dressing.

Tomato Head’s Fried Green Tomatoes

1.5 pounds green tomatoes
2/3 cup cornmeal
1.5 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
2/3 cup buttermilk
2 cups vegetable oil for frying
1 cup all purpose flour for dusting

Cut the ends off the tomatoes and slice into ¼ inch thick slices. Place the tomatoes on a paper towel lined baking sheet, in a single layer. Cover the tomatoes with more paper towels and let sit for 20 minutes.

Place cornmeal in blender with salt and cayenne pepper and process until fine. Fill 3 small bowls one with cornmeal mixture, one with flour and one with buttermilk.

After 20 minutes move tomatoes to dry paper towel, cover with more paper towels and press dry. Heat the oil in a large cast iron skillet over medium heat. Dip the tomatoes in flour, then buttermilk and then in the cornmeal mixture. Fry the tomatoes in the hot oil, 3-4 at a time for 2-3 minutes per side, or until golden brown. Drain on a wire rack.

Serve as a side dish or with honey mustard dressing as an appetizer.

Tomato Head’s Father’s Day Buttermilk Cake with Fresh Strawberries and Blueberries

Every holiday needs a little something special cooked up to celebrate. Father’s Day is no exception. With the season presenting berries of all flavors, Mahasti prepared another memorable dessert for The Tomato Head. You can give this recipe a whirl at home and present it to your favorite fella or come to either the Maryville or Knoxville restaunt today. We’ll be serving it at both locations. Happy Father’s Day!

Tomato Head’s Father’s Day Buttermilk Cake with Fresh Strawberries and Blueberries

2.25 cups all purpose flour

1.25 cups granulated sugar

1 tsp salt

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1 stick butter, cut into small pieces

1.5 tsp vanilla extract

1 cup buttermilk

4 egg whites

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a medium bowl, sift together flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, and baking soda.  Place dry ingredients in the bowl of an electric mixer.  Mix the ingredients with a paddle attachment on low speed.  Gradually add the butter and mix until the mixture resembles sand.  (if you don’t have a mixer you can do this with a biscuit cutter).  Mix together the buttermilk, vanilla and egg whites and gradually add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients.  Beat the mixture on medium high speed for 1 minute ( or with a wooden spoon until well mixed)

Pour batter into a parchment lined 9 X 13 baking pan.  Bake in the middle of the oven for 30 – 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.  Allow the cake to cool in the pan for 10 minutes.  Remove the cake to a cooling rack and allow the cake to come to room temperature before serving.

Whipped Cream

1 cup heavy cream

1 Tbsp confectioners sugar

1 tsp vanilla

Place all the ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer with a whisk attachment.  Beat until whipped cream is the consistency you desire.  ( If you don’t have a mixer this can be done with a whisk.)

Cut the cake into desired size pieces and serve with fresh whipped cream, sliced strawberries and fresh blueberries.

Tomato Head’s Red Velvet Cake for Your Mama!

Mahasti presented the recipe for The Tomato Head’s Red Velvet Cake on WBIR this morning. Mother’s Day is tomorrow…got a gift, yet? Making something for mama is always a fine idea, and a red velvet cake says “I love you” slice after slice. If you’re just not a baker or comfy in the kitchen, consider bringing your mater to The Tomato Head’s brunch. We’ll be serving on Sunday from 10am – 3pm. After 3pm we’ll shift service to our regular menu. Happy Mother’s Day!

Tomato Head’s Red Velvet Cake

2.5 cups all purpose flour
¾ tsp baking soda
¼ cup Dutch process cocoa
½ tsp. salt
1.25 cup sugar
1.5 cup vegetable oil
1 cup buttermilk
2 eggs
1 Tbsp red food coloring
1 tsp cider vinegar
1.5 Tbsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Line the bottom of a 9 X 13 pan with parchment paper, grease the sides, and set aside.

Into a medium bowl sift flour, baking soda, cocoa, and salt. Place eggs in another medium bowl and beat lightly with a whisk. Add oil, buttermilk, food coloring, vinegar, and vanilla. Whisk to incorporate the ingredients. Add the sugar to the wet ingredients and mix well. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients. Whisk well until all the flour is incorporated. Pour the batter into prepared pan. Bake for 20 – 25 minutes or until toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.

Allow cake to cool in pan. Flip the cake out of pan onto a cooling rack. Peel parchment paper off bottom. Re-flip cake back onto a cutting board. Dust the top with powdered sugar. Cut into desired size squares. Serve with a side of whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

The Tomato Head’s Lemon Bars

Mahasti presented the recipe for The Tomato Head’s Lemon Bars on WBIR this morning, including a tip that the restaurants are using today–you can make these Lemon Bars in cupcake form. Simply build them as the recipe describes but use individual cupcake forms for each one. However you choose to form them or cut the Lemon Bars, you’ll have a sweet spring treat that pleases.

No time to bake today? Both restaurants will be serving these Lemon Bars, so come on by for brunch, lunch or dinner.

Tomato Head’s Lemon Bars

For crust:
1 ¾ cup all purpose flour
2/3 cup powdered sugar
¼ cup cornstarch
¾ tsp salt
1 ½ sticks butter – cut into small pieces
Zest from one lemon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Line a 9 X 13 baking pan with parchment paper, making sure the paper comes up all the sides. If your paper is not wide enough place one sheet going lengthwise the cover that sheet with another sheet going crosswise – making a plus sign (+) with the paper.

Place flour, sugar, cornstarch, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer and mix on low speed. Add lemon zest and butter. Mix until the mixture starts to resemble sand. Pour entire mixture into your prepared pan. Press the mixture down with your hands until the crust is compact and fairly smooth.

Bake the crust in the preheated oven for 20 minutes.

For the filling:

4 eggs
1 ¼ cup sugar
3 Tbsp all purpose flour
Zest from 2 lemons
2/3 cup fresh lemon juice
1/3 cup whole milk
1/8 tsp salt

In a medium bowl, whisk together the sugar and flour. Add the remaining ingredients and whisk until well blended. Pour the filling over the cooked crust. Place the lemon bars in the oven for an additional 20 – 25 minutes or until the lemon mixture is set and starting to brown on the edges. Cool in pan for 30 – 45 minutes, then refrigerate for 1-2 hours or until cold. Gently pull on the corners of the parchment paper and remove the lemon bars from the pan. Cut the lemon bars into 1X1 or 2X2 squares, sprinkle generously with confectioners’ sugar and serve.

The Tomato Head’s Baked Beans

Along with Dogwood Arts Festival, the Covenant Health Knoxville Marathon, and East Tennessee pollen, nothing tells you springtime is really here like eating outside. And with those picnics, spontaneous backyard gatherings, and the like, comes some traditional favorite, fun foods. By now, you’ve probably heard about Hot Dog Mondays at The Tomato Head, and our recipe for Baked Beans is a perfect complement for serving hot dogs at home.

Mahasti presented this recipe on WBIR this morning, and also shared a great dog assembly–chopped lettuce, baked beans, cheddar and daikon slaw. We’re not offering it in the restaurants today, but we will be featuring it on Monday, for Hot Dog Mondays. Even better, when you order up your dog on Monday, know that you’re not only eating well, but doing good at the same time. For the remainder of April, and potentially longer, we’ll be donating 10% of our Monday sales to Japan Relief efforts (Doctors Without Borders and UNICEF).

So, give these Baked Beans a try in your own kitchen, and come Monday, swing by and try ’em on our Hot Dog special. We promise they’ll make your Monday much, much better. Woof!

Tomato Head’s Baked Beans

3 cups navy beans, looked and soaked overnight
1 cup onion, diced
1 cup ketchup
1 Tbsp light brown sugar
½ cup molasses
2 cups tomato sauce
1 tsp salt
1 Tbsp Chipotle Tabasco sauce, optional

Drain and rinse the beans. Place the beans in a large pot with 2 inches of water to cover and cook over medium heat for 30 – 40 minutes, or until soft.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Once again drain the beans. Place the beans in a large bowl. Add the remaining ingredients and stir together until well mixed. Pour the beans into a 3 quart casserole dish. Bake for 1 hour.

© 2016 The Tomato Head Site by: Robin Easter Design